Isn’t it crazy when you are young and can spot all the silly things your elders are doing? I remember being that youngster. Where did it go? Or rather, where did I go? What I have learned as I have begun the precarious hike to the top of the crazy hill is that the younger I was, the more limited my view. As I check my footing and stop to look around, I realize the world is so much larger than I understood it to be when I was younger. I don’t know that I can see further now, but I can see from this spot on the hill that there is much beyond my view. As my father loves to say, “I don’t know what I don’t know”. I can honestly say that I do know there is hidden wisdom in this odd saying. The other blessing? I am aware that there is an incredible abundance of things I do not know. The older I get, the more there is to learn.
Perhaps these seem like obvious observations but this unemployment gig has caused me to reassess just about everything. It’s time to revisit some of the assumptions of my youth. I’m thinking that wisdom might have been hiding underneath crazy. Let’s consider bread bags. Growing up I thought these were what you should throw out with the heel of the bread. My in-laws always kept them for reuse. Not to save money necessarily but to keep from wasting. They served as free doggy doo bags before they started offering free bags at our local trailheads. While they are not pretty or trendy, they are the perfect size for lunches on the go. And Ziploc bags, turns out that these are sometimes reusable too. I’m not ready to begin sewing a new seam on them when they wear out, but I’m also not so inclined to label the practice “crazy”. Over the years my Tupperware has slowly left the building. Now I have some less expensive Glad containers that are being squeezed out by empty sour cream cartons. I feel good about this. In fact, my father-in-law looks sort of pleased when I send him home with leftover casserole parading as generic vanilla yogurt. So why is the wisdom suddenly evident?
We now have something in common. Yes, I’m finally reaching the age of adulthood and it has been a long haul. I also finally have kids of my own I can try and pass these nuggets to. The real common ground is the realization that life is fluid and not really in our control. Before this enlightenment I figured there would always be more – more bread, more bags, & more containers. Now I have experienced a strong feeling of uncertainty. Will there be more? These elders have lived with the memories of several recessions and even the great depression. They have faced the uncertainty and learned that there is not always more. It’s time to get creative and get more out of what I already have.